Barron Nydam closed out Saturday on an eight-bout winning streak.

Irish Quartet Earns Gold At Midwest Fencing Conference Championships

March 6, 2010

Final Stats

NoTRE DAME, Ind. – The Fighting Irish men’s and women’s fencing teams dominated day one of the Midwest Fencing Conference (MFC) Championships on Saturday by claiming four of the six individual gold medals that were handed out at the conference championships.

On the women’s Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) continued her unbeaten streak (now at 73 bouts) by winning the gold in women’s epee, while Hayley Reese (Crestwood, Ky.) added a women’s foil gold to her already impressive resume. On the men’s side, junior sabreist Barron Nydam (Ranco Sante Fe, Calif.) won his first MFC Championship and then sophomore foilist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) beat out several of his Irish teammates to cap off Notre Dame’s gold medal haul.

All told, the Irish won nine medals (out of a possible 24 due to third place ties in each weapon) including four golds, two silvers and three bronzes.

A recap of Notre Dame’s performances in each of the weapons follow, while complete results of the individual championship — including pool play and direct elimination — can be accessed at’s Midwest Fencing Conference Championship Central page at:

Women’s Epee
K. Hurley’s run to the women’s epee gold began when she was seeded third after pool play. She then beat Chloe McGuffigan of Northwestern (15-5), Erin vonKronberger of Michigan State (15-8) and Karalina Collins also of Northwestern (15-4) to advance to the quarterfinals. In the final eight, K. Hurley got past 10th-seeded Julia Tikhonova of Ohio State, 15-11. She then downed sister Courtney for the gold by a 15-11 margin. With a 6-0 record in pool play and five wins in direct elimination, Hurley has now won an impressive 73 consecutive bouts, which dates back to the St. John’s Challenge during Notre Dame’s season-opening trip to New York.

C. Hurley earned the top seed following pool play and subsequently defeated teammate Caroline Dikibo (15-2), Chicago’s Amanda Cantlin (15-13) and Northwestern’s Nicole Tilley (15-4) to advance to the final eight. In her semifinal bout, C. Hurley downed fourth-seeded Kayley French of Northwestern, 15-6, to advance to the championship bout. C. Hurley has captured a MFCC gold (2009) and added an MFCC silver (2010) in her first two seasons with the Irish.

Also fencing for the Irish, Diane Zielinski turned in a 20th-place showing, with Vanessa Rosa (El Paso, Texas) finishing next at 21st. Dikibo (Houston, Texs) ended up in 29th and Stephanie Myers (El Paso, Texas) finished 42nd in the field of 61 fencers.

Women’s Foil
Reese entered the women’s foil direct elimination bracket as the fourth seed. In her first elimination bout, she took out Kate Nelson of Xavier (15-1) and followed with a win over Michigan’s Jae-Eun Chong (15-5). To get into the final eight, Reese blanked teammate Phenix Messersmith (El Cerrito, Calif.), 15-0. Then, in the quarterfinals, Reese disposed of Northwestern’s Devynn Patterson, 15-11, to set up an all-Irish semifinal bout with upstart Grace Hartman (St. Paul, Minn.). Reese won the semifinal bout (15-9) to advance to the championship, where she outlasted top-seeded Oksana Dmytruk 15-13. The championship bout was tied at 13-13 before Reese ran off consecutive touches for the gold.

Hartman, seeded 10th after pool play, kicked-off her run to the semifinals with wins over Kristi Spuhler of Bowling Green (15-2) and Purdue’s Audrey Jenkins (15-2). Then, with a quarterfinal berth on the line, Hartman upset seventh-seeded Lindsay Knauer of Ohio State, 8-7. Hartman recorded another upset in the quarters as she took out second-seeded Camille Provencal-Dayle of Nortwestern (13-10) before falling to Reese in the semifinals and tying for third and earning a bronze medal in the process.

Radmila Sarkisova (Grand Rapids, Mich.) finished eighth and Darsie Malynn (Grapevine, Texas) 10th to give the Irish four of the top-10 finishers. Sarkisova recorded wins against Wisconsin’s Amanda Soldner (15-0), teammate Katie Heinzen (15-2) and Malynn to advance to the final eight. But in the quarterfinals, Sarkisova was edged by Dmytruk, 9-8. Malynn recorded direct elimination wins over Rika Terajima of Lawrence (15-0) and Northwestern’s Curie Chang (15-7) to finish 10th. Messersmith finished 14th, Heinzen 23rd and Christina LaBarge (Pasadena, Calif.) 41st out of a field of 68 to round out the Irish women’s foil contingent.

Women’s Sabre
In women’s sabre, the Irish had four of the top-12 finishers, led by Sarah Borrmann (Beaverton, Ore.) who tied for third. After being tied for fourth after pool play, Borrmann knocked off Oberlin’s Laura Rios (15-4), Samantha LaFrance of Detroit (15-8) and Northwestern’s Jillian Mahen (15-6) for a place in the final eight. In the quarterfinals, Borrmann downed Northwestern’s Whitney White, 15-8. But Borrmann fell in the semifinals to Allison Miller of Ohio State, 15-12.

Junior Eileen Hassett (Beaverton, Ore.) finished in sixth. Hassett was seeded eighth after pool play, and the she downed Alissa Grogan of Xavier(15-2), Isadora Blatch (15-9) of Chicago and teammate Abigail Nichols (15-8) for a place in the final eight. But in her quarterfinal bout with Miller, Hassett came up on the wrong end of a 15-13 decision. Before running into Hassett in the round of 16, Nichols (Concord, Mass.) had been the ninth seed in elimination play. She defeated MSU’s Kristen Walker (15-3) and Katie Friedrichs (15-5) before facing Hassett.

Tied for the fourth seed after pool play, Beatriz Almeida (Chappagua, N.Y.) knocked off Purdue’s Lara Schmitt (15-1) and OSU’s Jenna El-Amin (15-9) before falling to White in the round of 16.

Other Irish finishes in women’s sabre included a 16th-place showing by Marta Stepien (South Amboy, N.J.) and a 19th-place finish by Kathryn Palazzoto (Nutley, N.J.). Julia Kohn (Wilmette, Il.) finished 22nd, Danielle Guilfolye (Pittstown, N.J.) rounded out the Irish contingent by finishing 29th of 63 entrants.

Men’s Epee
Freshman James Kaull (Washington, D.C.) led the way for the Irish, finishing in a tie for fifth. After finishing tied for second in pool play and earning a first round bye, Kaull beat Brendan O’Flaherty of Lawrence (15-3), Dan Jensen of Wisconsin (15-4) and John Marshall of Cleveland State (15-10) to advance to the round of eight. In the round of eight, Kaull fell to Ohio State’s Igor Tolkachev, 15-10.

Other Irish finishes in men’s epee included a 17th place showing by Andrew Seroff (Boulder, Colo.), an 18th place finish by Greg Schoolcraft (San Jose, Calif.) and a 20th place finish by Jack Piasio (DuBois, Pa.). Jacob Osborne (Colleyville, Texas) finished 22nd for the Irish with Rich Molina (Newark, N.J.) and Conor Gettings (Lake Forest, Ill.) finishing 24th and 28th, respectively. Chris Pfarr (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) rounded out the Irish men’s epee contingent by finishing in a tie for 35th out of 78 competitors.

Men’s Foil
All told, Notre Dame boasted five of the final eight men’s foilists and three of the four semifinalists, led by Meinhardt, who won the first conference championship of his Irish career by downing teammate Enzo Castellani (Keller, Texas) in the championship bout, 15-4. As the top overall seed entering elimination play, Meinhardt’s route to the final included early round wins over Phil Ropelewski of Case Western (15-1), Purdue’s Pavel Prusakov (15-2) and Iowa’s Luke Voelz (15-1). Then, in the quarterfinals, Meinhardt met teammate Zach Shirtz (Rochester, N.Y.). Though Shirtz was able to land nine touches, Meinhardt pulled out the 15-9 win. In the semifinals, he downed Colin Sutter of OSU, 15-5 to set up the championship bout with Castellani.

Castellani entered direct elimination as the second seed and rolled off wins against Indiana’s Ekram Hossain (15-2), NWU’s Alex Dranove (15-5) and, also of NWU, Alex Risman (15-6) for a place in the final eight. In the quarterfinals, Castellani took out Ben Parkins of Ohio State and teammate Steve Kubik (San Antonio, Texas) by identical 15-10 scores.

Kubik made it to his semifinal showdown with Castellani after being seeded 11th following pool play. He beat Minnesota’s Raphael Yu (15-3), NWU’s Jonathan Kim in the early going and then edged teammate and sixth seed Nicholas Crebs (Beaverton, Ore.) 15-12 for a place in the quarterfinals. In the quarters, Kubik downed 14th-seeded Joe Streb of Ohio State.

Schirtz was seeded eighth entering direct elimination and he turned in early round wins over Chicago’s Noah Epstein (15-4) and MSU’s Zack Girouard (15-3) before booking a place in the quarters with a 15-13 win over Michael Purdys-Sachs of Detroit. Shirtz ended in seventh.

Reggie Bentley also made it to the quarterfinals, where he fell to Sutter, 15-10. After earning the fourth seed, Bentley blanked Detroit’s Jared Sivec (15-0), Purdue’s Jonathan Gately (15-4) and Calvin Rusiewski of Illinois (15-6) to join four of his Irish teammates in the final eight. He finished fifth.

Other men’s foil finishes for the Irish included a 10th-place showing by Grant Hodges (Salina, Kan.) and an 11th-place finish by Crebs. Diego Silva finished 32nd and Xavier Lebec 44th out of the 76 men’s epee competitors.

Men’s Sabre
Nydam won the men’s sabre championship for the Irish, taking first with a thrilling 15-14 victory over Ohio State’s Brian Cheney. Nydam, who was tied for fifth after pool play, beat Iowa’s Adam Rains (15-6), Purdue’s Cedric Hall (15-3) and Case Western’s Garret Singer (15-5) to advance to the final eight. In the quarterfinals Nydam beat teammate Marcel Frenkel (San Paulo, Brazil) 15-5 before advancing to the finals with a 15-13 win over top-seeded Max Stearns of OSU.

Avery Zuck (Beaverton, Ore.), Jason Choy (Basking Ridge, N.J.) and Frenkel were the other Irish fencers to advance to the quarterfinals. Zuck, who was seeded third after pool play, advanced to the quarterfinals by knocking off Aaron Wright of Lawrence (15-1), Trent Lundquist of Ohio State (15-4) and teammate William McGough (15-10). He fell in the quarterfinals to Cheney, 15-14.

Choy and Frenkel also fell in the quarterfinals. After tying for the seventh seed following pool play, Choy advanced to the quarterfinals with wins over Northwestern’s David Xue (15-10), Case Western’s Alex Wijango (15-11) and Ohio State’s Michael Douville (15-10). He fell 15-4 in the round of eight to Ohio State’s Stearns.

Frenkel, the fourth seed after pool play, advanced to the round of eight with wins over Lawrence’s Peter Kilkuskie (15-5), Wisconsin’s Alan Long (15-6) and teammate Alex Buell (15-5). In the quarterfinals, he lost to Nydam.

Keith Feldman (Stony Brook, N.Y.) was the next highest finisher for the Irish, finishing 10th. McGough (Bronxville, N.Y.) also turned in a strong performance for the Irish, placing 13th. Alex Buell (Waterford, WI) advanced to the round of 16 before finishing16th. Other Irish finishes included a 24th place showing by Anthony Schlehuber (Carmel, Ind) and a 33rd place finish by John Plunkett (Wyckoff, N.J.) out of 76 entrants.

The MFC Championships conclude tomorrow, March 7 as the Irish challenge 19 other squads for the team championships in each of the six weapons and the overall conference crown. Action is slated to begin at 8:00 a.m. inside Notre Dame’s Joyce Center. For all the latest updates of the individual team competitions, check back with and the Midwest Fencing Conference Championship Central page at: